Skip to main content

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

See other formats


ideas through first-hand experience, or as a process of giving
significance to individual impressions by means of ideas. The
one is primarily the concern of the child, the other of the teacher;
but ultimately they are phases of the same fact.

Pestalozzi's whole scheme of education is based on these two J
complementary points of view. In the first place, the subjects
of instruction are indicated by the child's need of guiding ideas.
On examination of adult experience, Pestalozzi finds that when
a man wants definite ideas about objects concerning which he
has only vague impressions, he must discover (a) the number of
objects before him, (b) the particular form these objects have,
and (c) the names by which they are called. Now the process
of learning in the case of the child does not differ from this in
any essential respects. Before he can really be said to know
things, his knowledge must include the same three elements:
he must know their number, their forms and their names. The
instruction he receives must therefore be threefold: (a) instruc-
tion in the elements of number (arithmetic), (b) instruction in
the elements of form (drawing, leading up to writing), and
(c) instruction in names and the ideas they connote (language).
In the second place, the method of instruction is indicated by
the need for Anschauung, or personal insight. No instruction
is of any value unless it comes into vital.relation with the cBlct^
own experience j>.L-things. This brings Pestalozzi into agree-
ment with Rousseau's doctrine that it is not what the child
must know in order to be fit for manhood, but what he can know
as a child, that is of most account for the educator. He recognizes
that what is taught to the child can only become part of himself
if it is within the reach of his conscience and intellect. On this
principle the chief test of the suitability of any lesson is its power
to awaken the self-activity of the learner. In speaking of the care
he took at Stanz to make the first stages of learning as thorough
as possible, he notes that the method " quickly developed in the
children a sense of capacities hitherto unknown. They realized
their own power and the tediousness of the ordinary school tone
vanished like a ghost. They wanted to learn, they found they
could do it, they persevered, they succeeded, and they laughed.
Their tone was not that of learners. It was the tone of unknown
capacities roused from sleep." According to Pestaiozzi this
intensity of interest which manifests itself in self-activity is